Places We Keep

She sat with her back against the seat to keep herself warm. She only allowed the most minimal of tilts of her head to indicate that she was still listening, to portray boredom, half-there, half-far away.

“There’s days when I just want to set things on fire,” he mumbled, as he licked the tips of the cigarette paper between his fingers.

“Why would you do that,” distastefully as she could across the two millimetre empty space separating them both, occupied by a broken radio that would only play The Edge.

“So things can be re-born.”

She smiled.



Imprint by Koyamori

Imprint by Koyamori

She waits beside the red brick wall outside her office, beside her window, japanese cherry blossoms beside a 27-inch computer screen, with her colleagues wailing, “When is it too early to have scotch?” at 4.30 on a wednesday afternoon, sitting at the edge of her seat, eyes widening left to right, fingers drumming on top of a glass tabletop, listening to mainstream 90’s music from the office beside her, Pink Floyd from below, high notes of Uncomfortably Numb climbing up the carpeted floor, glancing at the memo (once, twice, three times) before clicking back, staring at a white empty space waiting to be filled with experience, to be woken from the deep slumber of an average life, to be showered by rainbow spices from a distant land, from the fields in Ohio to the the bees of Holland, Argentina in the blink of an eye, back to snow in December, walking in sky blue boots, holding a purse stolen from her mother, clad in someone else’s winter jacket that they had thrown away, holding back a smile while riding the subway, thinking this is it, this is it, now my life is about to change – and back to the office chair, to the tweedling keyboard, to the smell of espressos and cappucinos amidst the staleness of a room that housed the silhouttes of Dai Vernon, and the dreams of a young child trapped in the body of a wasted, old woman.


The Opera Girl

The wails of Andress can fill the entire length of Coxwell Avenue–
when she steps down from her car her cheeks are set;
dramatic pose detailed down to the curve of her foot,
as it lands on concrete inside shiny, black heels–
Her lips, ruby red, curls to the tune of practiced bemoans:
her sobs sliding and climbing the scale perfectly,
like do-re-mi-fa-so.

“Andress is coming” is more of a warning,
as everyone settles in to the only role in her life–
secondary audience members doling out consoles when needed,
feeding back sympathy on cue.
She swallows them to the back of her throat
and collects them in a bottle that she opens
in the middle of the night when she
carves out the ivory in her mask through hugs and kisses
given to her while in despair.

The only time Andress has offered me a second of her time,
was a single smile thrown across a foggy room,
one night,in a party by the Beaches
while the streets filled with tourists for Jazz Festival–
confirming and strengthening the imagery
permanently etched in my head:

Andress, the villainous heroine,
A modern, red-headed Ophelia hiding behind a cheap martini glass,
as she force-fed the room with the saddest,
most solitarily ephemeral smile.